Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The following post was written by my 14 year old daughter after attending her first JP lecture! We had a great time together and I am so very proud of her for writing such a powerful post on Livin La Vida Vegan about one of my biggest heroes. You can visit his website if you're interested in learning more.
Being a teenage girl who has an awareness about health and the food industry can be hard to endure. I have found myself surrounded by people who are not informed or educated about health. It is not just my fellow teens, it is the adults I see daily as well; teachers, my friend's parents, relatives and even some doctors. If you take the time to examine marketing, or food options at just about every national restaurant chain it is not hard to see how misinformed and unhealthy we Americans are. I have found that the majority of people my age today blindly accept what is 'sold' to them. People in general are sheeple who don't read ingredients, don't know what is IN their food and eat what they are told by the FDA - an agency bought and paid for by the factory farming industry. Often times at school I find myself dreading our lunch break because I am regulary criticized for the way I choose to eat.
"You're scrawny because you don't get enough protein. Go home and eat a steak."
"You're so stupid. Milk makes your bones stronger, everyone knows that."
"Brooklyn... will you stop talking about animal cruelty?! The animals dont feel pain... they kill them humanely."
"Ha! Soymilk makes you gay!"
More than once I've left my table in disgust and anger. I often wonder, how could my friends be so ignorant? how could they say such insulting things to me? Even when I present conclusive evidence - proof - that what I 've said is true, they still turn a blind eye. I am appalled that even when shown pictures and documentation about the practices of the factory farming industry my peers simply laugh or roll their eyes, claiming that I am "such a hippie". I find myself frightened and feel as if Im in a horror movie where I desperately need someone to let me inside to save me from the dangers lurking outside. These experiences have caused me to become resentful, but have hardened my resolve to continue to be strong.
When my Mother told me about a lecture we were going to attend by a nutritionist she admires named John Pierre, I admit I was hesitant. I thought I would much rather stay around the warm house and enjoy a quiet evening. After some encouragement I agreed to go with her. I have gone to several lectures and have seen many public speakers over the years, so my excitement was minimal. I was not expecting anything out of the ordinary. On the car ride over my Mother was bubbling about Pierre's brilliance. When we arrived I was hoping he would meet my newfound expectations and not be some dull monotonous man in a grey suit. I was surpised to find him a fit man with short stature, like myeself, who appeared to be around the age of 30 years old. I was pleased to see he was a lively person and didn't wear a suit, but instead a shirt that labeled him as 'herbivore'.
John Pierre began his lecture and I thought to myself "Why, he's almost as smart as my Mother!"
As he progressed I became aware that this man was brilliant. Not only was he intelligent, funny, and dedicated, but he was compassionate as well - a quality I highly admire. He made many good points and spoke about foods which are good to eat and foods that are not good to ingest and why.
I am always flabbergasted when people ask me how I get my protein. "Through almonds, peanut butter, plants, fake meat and other plant based foods of course." I think to myself crossly. Until I saw John Pierre, however, I was unsure of what exactly they meant by their question. The question implies that you can only get the best and high-class' protein through eating meat. But Pierre made things very easy to understand. He explained that it really does not matter how your body gets protein, your body accepts it just the same. He said that it would not make sense for amino acids to come from just meat, after all, where did the cow get it's protein? From plant matter! I was delighted and surprised to have a new outlook, for I had not considered that fact before...
Another point that Pierre made which I had not considered was how the human digestive tract works; a carniverous creature such as a cat has a very short digestive tract so that meat can travel quickly through, while humans have a longer digestive tract, and meat generally is not meant to be digested in it. People may make the argument "Then why do we have canines?" The answer is simple; we don't have canines. We have the basic type of teeth needed to break rough plant matter. The teeth people refer to as canines are not sharp enought to be considered canines, though they do have a similar appearance.
Everything Pierre spoke of I found intriguing in one way or another and I was especially interested by his views on milk. He was very funny and said "Let me put it to you this way.... if a woman in the back of the room said 'hey guys! I have some extra breast milk, do you guys want any?' I found this idea absurd, obviously that would be strange. The people in the room started laughing and he asked 'What? What is so funny? That's basically what we do, only we drink the milk of a cow!' The point is valid and easy to relate to. He spoke of how the cows that are in the dairy industry are regulary sexually assaulted to remain pregnant and producing milk. He spoke about how the udders of the cows are swollen to the point of dragging on the floor which is covered in feces and then the cows step on them. Their udders become infected and need to be treated with antibiotics which results in blood, pus and antibiotics in our milk. The FDA regulates how much of these can be in our milk that is distributed before it is considered 'contaminated'. The food industry uses marketing to deliver the message that milk does a body good and makes our bones stronger, however the opposite is true. Milk actually causes your body to go into an acidic state, which then causes your body to want to regulate therefore it leeches calcium from our bones. This actually makes our bones weaker.
I left his lecture feeling inspired to spread the messages that he had brought so eloquently to the crowd. He was a generous man as well and spoke about giving and increasing the love in your life and others. My Mother went to speak with him after the lecture and he remembered me and that I had asked him a question he felt was very intelligent. I had asked about freezing fruits and vegetables and how that affects the living enzymes within them. He told my Mother that he wanted to speak with me. I approached JP and he greeted me kindly. He pointed to the tables where there were products for sale, books and samples of various nutritional supplements. He told me to go pick out anything I wanted from the table as his gift to me. I wanted to accept graciously but was speechless, I was grateful for his kindness but did not expect him to give me something. I have come to anticipate a sales pitch after a lecture - people don't generally go out of their way to be giving or kind to others. I've grown accustomed to self serving individuals. The fact that he gave me this gift was surprising because not many people would do something like that. I felt like I was in his debt after his lecture and his gift so I was determined to do my best to live what he taught.... eat whole foods plant based diet, be compassionate, move your body - not 'excersize' and make choices in your life that are good for your body, the earth, and especially the animals. I am thankful for the experience that I had and the opportunity that JP presented to me.